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05Nov 13

Dealing with your children’s temper tantrums

Temper tantrums are a natural part of children’s development. But that does not lessen the frustration that a parent feels when a child is throwing one!

Learning how to deal with your children’s tantrums in the right way can be very tough on parents – and believe me, I should know.  When my son Tom and daughter Mary were toddlers, they both were defiant, demanding and disagreeable. It is hard to believe that my now well-behaved kids were once little devils!

So how did I survive the screaming, hitting and toy-throwing phase? Here are a few of my tips.

How to deal with your children's temper tantrums

How to deal with your children’s temper tantrums

Reasons for temper tantrums

It’s important to remember that when your toddler behaves in an unacceptable way, it is not because he or she is bad. This behaviour is their way of trying to communicate and get your attentionFussy eating is a good example!

Studies show tantrums usually peak between 15 and 21 months old, but kids as old as 4 or 5 have periodic meltdowns. In my household, Tom displayed the typical behaviour of the so-called “terrible twos” – he was unbearable between the ages of two and three – while Mary’s “little devil” emerged when she was four. Temper tantrums, hitting and biting, yelling, and an overall refusal to do just about whatever is asked of your child were not uncommon.

I found Tom and Mary’s early years a parenting challenge because of their behavioural issues. But I also realised that their actions were an attempt to assert their independence. So I had to learn to foster that independence while not allowing the bad behaviour to accompany them into their school years and beyond. Children with behavioural issues are more likely to drop out of school once they reach their teenage years as well as experience problems into adulthood.

Tips for tots with tantrums

Parents facing the terrible twos must always keep in mind that while these are not easy times, they can be made more bearable by adhering to a few guidelines. Here are some of mine:

• Teach your child the right way to get what they want without throwing a tantrum. Teach them to say “please” and “thank you”.
• Remain calm during a child’s tantrum. If you lose your cool, it shows you are not in control. Though, I have read that some parents have successfully ended their children’s tantrums by mimicking the behaviour to show the child how unacceptable it is.
• Praise and reward your children when they do positive things. They will learn that throwing a tantrum is not the only way to get your attention.
• No matter how difficult, never give into your child’s demands when they throw a tantrum. This is a definite no-no!

What are your tips for dealing with temper tantrums?

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